By Jessica Tanner
Students everywhere benefit from a group of experts who help guide them in their path to graduation. They help students learn about courses, internships, and opportunities that will give them invaluable experience. They are academic advisers.
The Utah Advising Association is a network of academic advisers throughout the state. They meet monthly to address current issues and interests and look forward to an annual two-day conference. This year the organization is headed by BYU’s Cara Wiley. Wiley is the College of Nursing’s Advisement Center Supervisor and has served as a committee member, been the BYU representative, and was president elect last year. This year the committee nominated her to lead as president.
Wiley takes up the responsibility with enthusiasm and looks forward to improving where she can. “If I’m ever in charge of things, I like changing things up,” she says. This year she plans to implement some changes in the conference—introducing mini presentations and poster presentations as opposed to only having 50-minute sessions. It will allow for more information and variety, as well as train academic advisers in public speaking.
“We are in a caring profession, just like nursing.”
At the conference, advisers will speak on a wide range of topics. “It’s all centered around helping students…and being able to be an effective adviser,” Wiley says. Presenters speak on topics such as bias, diversity, and communication skills as well as helping students manage stress. Speakers also encourage advisers to understand their own self-care. Wiley explains, “We are in a caring profession, just like nursing. And it’s hard to care for others if you aren’t doing well yourself.” Advisers can look forward to learning more about these and other topics by coming to the UAA conference in May.
There are many reasons Wiley loves this opportunity to lead UAA. For one, she is a planner at heart. “I love planning things and planning events,” she shares. Another benefit is networking with fellow advisers. “It’s good to know what’s going on at the other universities across the state and the problems they’re facing,” she says. “We share our best practices with each other.” Because of UAA, advisers throughout the state can teach and learn from one another.
Wiley also finds joy in representing BYU. “It’s nice to work on relations with other schools,” she says. She also loves being involved in training, looks forward to getting more leadership experience, and enjoys the variety UAA adds to her life. “If you do the same thing day-in and day-out it could get boring.” She looks forward to the challenges and growth that come with the job. Next year Wiley will be the past president, who advises the current president in their responsibilities. For now, however, Wiley will continue make her mark.